Kitty Literature

Posted June 9, 2008 at 6:46pm

From her controversial role in the Florida vote recount after the 2000 presidential election to her stormy and ultimately doomed Senate bid, former Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.) is a trove of drama, and it looks like her story could soon be heading to a bookstore near you. Former campaign manager Jamie Miller is penning a book about his former boss, he tells HOH.

[IMGCAP(1)]He says the tale, which bears the working title “Katherine Harris v. Katherine Harris: The Rise and Fall of a Political Icon,” will examine how Harris’ public and private sides were often at odds. “She could talk to the faithful — go out there and throw them red meat, and everyone would be saying ‘Hey, we could win this thing,’ and then, behind the scenes, minutes after giving a great speech, she’d try tearing [staffers] down,” says Miller, who is now a Florida-based political consultant. “It’s about how the person and the persona were in conflict.”

Miller says he’s got about 35,000 words on paper and plans interviews with “prominent people” who can recollect their dealings with the often-mercurial Congresswoman. He’s in talks with an agent and hopes to find a publisher in time for a book release sometime in late winter or early spring of next year.

The Orlando Sentinel first reported on Miller’s book-in-progress.

Other former Harris aides — and there are plenty of them, because Harris was notorious for cycling through staffers at an alarming pace — have considered books about their time working with Harris, but Miller’s tome looks like it could be the first in print. Ben McKay, another former Harris staffer who has previously hinted that he might be interested in writing a tell-all book, says those plans are on the shelf for the moment. “I can understand people would want to write that kind of book for cathartic reasons, but I don’t need that now,” says McKay, who is with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

Other former staffers say Miller’s book will likely deliver some dish — not because, they say, Miller’s looking to air grievances. It’s just that Harris’ oft-bizarre behavior speaks for itself and that even a “tell some” book about Harris would be a juicy read. “Like they say, ‘You just can’t make this stuff up,’” one former staffer tells HOH.

HOH wonders whether actress Laura Dern, who got kudos for her performance playing Harris in the recent HBO movie “Recount,” might be available to reprise her role if Miller’s book is ever turned into a screenplay.

Staffer’s Choice: Harman or Harvard. So you’re a staffer for Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), and you’ve been accepted to a coveted spot at the exclusive Harvard Law School. Your boss is sad to lose you, so you defer enrolling for a year to stay on and fight the good fight.

But now it’s your moment to say goodbye to Capitol Hill and head for the ivory tower … and then an official-looking fax arrives at your office from the folks at Harvard: “At Jane Harman’s request, we rescind your acceptance at Harvard Law. She tells me she can’t live without you. Sincerely, Elena Kagan, Dean” Below the signature there’s a handwritten line: “So sorry, maybe next year.”

Far from trying to sabotage her departing staffer’s nascent legal career, Harman was playing a little prank on Hank Greenberg, her law-school-bound telecom staffer. Harman arranged with Harvard Law — where she’s an alum — to have the note sent over, and Greenberg apparently knew the fax was a spoof (whew!).

It was a “going-away present” from the grateful boss, an HOH tipster says.

Which, HOH supposes, is way more personal than, say, a pen.

Gift-Wrap Your Member. As much as HOH likes any opportunity to connect politics and hanky-panky, even we were a little turned off by a new product that brings presidential contenders Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) into the bedroom. And we’re not talking about “Tonight Show” appearances.

A New York-based company called Practice Safe Policy is marketing condoms whose packaging features a picture and slogan of each candidate. McCain Condoms, which are “Old But Not Expired,” and the Obama Condoms — because “Who Says Experience is Necessary?” — are available online for $9.95 and claim to “offer better protection than the Secret Service.”

“It’s been quite the stimulating election season,” company founder Benjamin Sherman tells HOH. “We thought, ‘Let’s have some fun with it.’”

And because endorsements count in both politics and shopping, the company included customer reviews in its press release. Cindy from Arizona has this rave about the McCain Condoms: “As soon as I got on the Straight Talk Express I got off.” And then there’s Jeremiah from Chicago: “Thanks to Obama Condoms, I’ve gotten so much tail I’ve stopped blaming America for everything!”

Unsurprisingly, neither campaign has contacted the company about the products, Sherman said, adding that he’s “looking forward to the day when somebody asks Obama or McCain whether they’ve used the product.”

HOH wonders whether seeing a picture of Obama or McCain before the act will keep things spicy in the bedroom. Perhaps knowing that, Sherman said the condoms are meant to be novelty items, so don’t expect to see them alongside those packs of Trojans in drug stores anytime soon.

“Only in extreme circumstances would you actually use the condom,” Sherman said. “Although it’s there if you need it.”

At the Finish Line. Plenty of Washington A-listers and more than a few Hollywood types were on hand Saturday for the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure, which raised $4.9 million for breast cancer research.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (whose late mother fought the disease) and D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty both ran in the event, alongside breast cancer survivor and “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon. Actress Gabrielle Union and “Desperate Housewives” actor Ricardo Chavira also took part.

HOH was particularly interested in how the 30 or so Congressional teams registered for the event fared. Race officials told HOH on Monday that they weren’t sure yet which was the fastest, but they did reveal that “Team Tom,” consisting of five staffers from the offices of Republican Reps. Tom Davis (Va.) and Darrell Issa (Calif.), raised $4,450 — more than any other Congressional team. And Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) fielded the biggest group, sending 30 people to take part in the race.

Hill staffers also made a strong showing Friday night at the Eve of Race gala, which was held at the Newseum and featured a rocking performance by the Second Amendments, featuring Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), Jon Porter (R-Nev.) and Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.). Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) had a last-minute emergency and didn’t attend.

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